Lawsuit: Police Officer Shared Nude Photos Of Student Before She Was Murdered

Megan Everts

A lawsuit claims that a campus police officer shared nude photos of Lauren McCluskey before she was murdered.

The parents of Lauren McCluskey, a college student who was murdered by Melvin Rowland in 2018, argue in a lawsuit against the University of Utah that a campus police officer in whom McCluskey confided “shared nude photographs that she had given him with officers not involved in the matter just weeks before she was murdered,” reported the New York Times.

  • McCluskey dated Rowland for a few weeks, but broke up with him “when she learned that he had lied about his name and was a convicted sex offender on parole.”
  • She feared for her life after the breakup and “turned over photographs to Miguel Deras, a campus police officer at the time, telling him that Mr. Rowland had threatened to release them unless she paid him $1,000.”
  • Then, Rowland kidnapped McCluskey and shot her seven times on October 22, 2018, and he later took his own life.
  • The lawsuit contends that “the university and the campus Police Department failed to take action when their daughter... repeatedly reached out to the authorities for help in the weeks leading up to her death” and that “Officer Deras kept the images on his personal cellphone and shared them with friends.”
  • The lawsuit “contends that Ms. McCluskey’s civil rights under Title IX, the 1972 federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in programs that receive federal funding, were violated,” and is therefore “seeking $56 million in damages for the Lauren McCluskey Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving campus safety.

In response to this lawsuit, various changes have already started to take place.

  • After the alleged breach of privacy was first reported, “the Police Department in Logan, Utah, where Officer Deras is now employed, had begun an internal affairs investigation into the matter.”
  • Furthermore, “the university identified dozens of ways that it could have responded to the case better” and “created a new position devoted to handling allegations of intimate partner violence and sexual assault.”

Despite all these accusations, “a lawyer for Officer Deras... told KSL NewsRadio last month that the allegations were ‘absolutely untrue.’”

Read more here.

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